Mesopotamia Team WebQuest: February 12
Please watch "Mesopotamia,-The Sumerians" and "From Nomads to Farmers" and "The Epic of Gilgamesh" in preparation for the upcoming class seminar.
The first agriculture, the domestication of animals, and the transition to sedentary life took place in regions in which animals that were easily domesticated (such as sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs) and the wild prototypes of grains and leguminous plants (such as wheat, barley, bitter vetch, pea, and lentil) were present.
The areas in the world of "first settlements" were the valleys and grassy border regions of the mountains of Iran, Iraq, Anatolia, Syria, and Palestine and along the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush, between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.
Settled life among other things, caused a drop in infant mortality, and this led to the increase in the population, and eventually settlement spread out from these centers into the plains.
This process described ironically as the "Neolithic Revolution", in fact took thousands of years.
King Hammurabi ruled Babylon, which was located along the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers,roughly from 1792–1750 BCE. During his time as king he oversaw a great expansion of his kingdom from a city-state to an empire.
Today King Hammurabiis most famous for a series of judgments (282 in total) inscribed on a 4 ton stone slab which were later dubbed by historians as Hammurabi's Code. It dates back to about 1754 BCE, "An eye for an eye ..." is a paraphrase that was first seen on Hammurabi's Code, and later restated in the Bible. Scholars are still debating the Code's precise significance as a set of laws, but the Code's importance as a reflection of Babylonian society is indisputable. It gives us a glimpse into what must have been a thriving civilization.
The most complete example of Hammurabi Code is on display at the Louvre in Paris. A replica is on display in the Archeology Museum of Tehran. Various copies of portions of the Code of Hammurabi are also in the Louvre, in the Museum of the Ancient Orient, part of the Istanbul Archeology Museum, and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Mesopotamia flourished along the Euphrates River, more than 5000 years ago. It was here that humans moved from being nomads, to becoming farmers and eventually the world's first cities were established by the Sumerians. Everyday life in Mesopotamia had many things that we now take for granted. Read about them here and here
Not only were the Sumerians one of the earliest urban societies to emerge in the world, they also developed a writing system whose wedge-shaped strokes would influence the style of scripts in the same geographical area for the next 3000 years.
Eventually, all of these diverse writing systems, which encompass both logo-phonetic, consonantal alphabetic, and syllabic systems, became known as cuneiform. See the example above and then go to this website to see how the written language developed. It eventually became quite complicated.
They also had a creation myth which you can read about at this site.
Some parts of Gilgamesh are similar to the adventure that Ulysses or Odysseus had and there is also a story of a great flood...(similar to what happened in the Bible!) The epic of Gilgamesh was written down in cuneiform on clay tablets and preserved at the Library of Nineveh.
One of the stories they told was the tale of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh was one of the kings of Uruk (a Sumerian city). His name is on the list of kings of Sumer that was recovered from the library at Nineveh. According to the story, Gilgamesh was part god and part human with some of the powers of the gods. According to the epics, Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu fought monsters, moved mountains and rivers, rescued people in need, and generally protected the people of Sumer.